Infant sex differences: Ecological effects

Gail A. Wasserman, Michael Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Mothers and their firstborn. year-old infants (30 girls, 30 boys) were observed during two counterbalanced situations. In the nonavailability situation, mothers were not to initiate interaction; during free play, mothers were free to interact. As in previous studies, sex differences in infant touching and proximity seeking appeared, dependent here upon the level of interaction, with girls higher on both measures. Boys and girls did not differ during free play. Sex differences in maternal behavior were rare in either situation. Moreover, the pattern of associations between maternal and infant behavior changed as the level of interaction changed. Maternal availability, manipulated by experimental instructions, should be considered as a factor in interpreting investigations of early sex differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-675
Number of pages11
JournalSex Roles
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Mar 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Gender Studies


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